Evolutionary Transitions and Co-evolutionary Dynamics in Biology and in Culture

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    This paper presents a Darwinian framework to study culture that formalises interactions between public and private, ontogenetic and phylogenetic as well as individual and social aspects of cultural evolution and transmission. It also compares and contrasts evolutionary milestones in the emergence of culture with major transitions in the evolution of life. We define two related processes in the evolution of culture: the cumulative encoding of innovative information into public culture and the ontogenetic development of cultural competences that allow humans to access and use that information. We claim that the capacity to create, learn and use symbols is a key factor underlying those processes.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationTheoretical and Methodological Issues in Evolutionary Archaeology
    Subtitle of host publicationTowards an Unified Darwinian Paradigm
    EditorsHernán Juan Muscio, Gabriel Eduardo José Lopez
    Place of PublicationOxford
    Number of pages8
    ISBN (Print)978-1-4073-0398-7
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

    Publication series

    NameProceedings of the XVth World Congress of the Union for Prehistoric and Protohistoric Sciences


    • Cultural evolution
    • public representation
    • private representation
    • evolutionary transition


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